The fate of the 2022 Qatar World Cup still hangs in the balance with a committee currently deciding whether the tournament should be shifted from the northern hemisphere summer to the northern hemisphere winter.
It would cause an absolute chaos in the football calendars across the world – how will the Premier League function while World Cup matches are taking place simultaneously? However, despite this, it looks like it may happen.
It would be an extremely controversial decision and is prompted by fears of players struggling in the extreme heat. There will now be a consultation process that could take up to six months to work out when it could be switched to in order to keep disruption to a minimum and not harm any commercial or media contracts in place – the backbone of the footballing world, let’s not forget.
The sky high temperatures is just one of many controversial reasons people are unsure about the tiny Gulf State hosting such a massive competition. There have also been reports of workers dying while constructing the sites, which has rather overshadowed the discussion about the weather and rescheduling the competition.
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There is also controversy surrounding the decisive vote back in 2010 that awarded the competition to Qatar in the first place. An investigation is currently going on by FIFA’s lawyer Michael Garcia, who is looking for evidence that the voting was politically fixed.
His report will be delivered to FIFA next year and may well give the officials who are clearly thinking about removing the tournament from Qatar entirely. For now they can only debate the scheduling issue and work out whether it’s logistically feasible to switch the World Cup to a northern hemisphere winter.
FIFA’s own report on the suitability of the bidding nations actually pointed out that holding the World Cup during the two hottest months of the year would risk the health of the teams, the officials, the fans and everyone else involved.
So, three years after the competition was awarded to Qatar, the controversy doesn’t stop. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and exactly when and where the 2022 World Cup will end up being played.